By: Kevin O’Keefe | Follow me on Twitter @Kevin_OKeefe89
Now that the expansion draft is in the rear-view, it’s time for Bruins general manager Don Sweeney to turn his attentions to the most important unrestricted-free agents on the team, Taylor Hall and David Krejci. Reports coming out early Thursday afternoon confirm Hall will be coming back to the team with a new contract in place, but what about Krejci? According to Sweeney, Krejci has yet to decide on whether or not he is re-upping with the black and gold for another run at the cup.
“I have been in touch with David, and I’m going to respect all of his privacy and decisions at this point in time; he has not given further indication (on a possible return or not). He’s got some things he wants to address. Then he’ll let us know. But yes, I have been in regular communication with David, and there’s no timeline to make decisions.” Said Sweeney.
While the hope would be that Krejci decides to re-sign with the Bruins, the idea of giving him all the time in the world to make that decision doesn’t seem like the correct way to go about this. Since we aren’t a part of these discussions, we have no clue what is being said to allow Sweeney to be so calm about the situation. Losing Krejci would be an enormous hole to fill, and I personally don’t believe that can come within the Bruins roster. The smart thing for Sweeney to do would be to give Krejci a deadline, so you can continue building this roster into a cup contender.
Giving Krejci a deadline until the morning of free agency would be wise. This allows Krejci enough time to ponder an offer by Sweeney and doesn’t handcuff Boston moving forward. If Krejci decides not to re-sign with the team, Sweeney will need as much time as possible to address his departure. The worry here is that Sweeney will allow Krejci all summer to think about this; Krejci decides not to re-sign; Sweeney sticks Coyle on the second line with Hall and Craig Smith…. this would be the worst-case scenario. Let’s avoid that by being aggressive to fill that second-line center slot.
There isn’t a whole lot of options in this year’s free-agent class when it comes to top-6 centers. The trade market would be the likely area to address this issue if it were to arise. Trades can take time to work out, so having to scramble at the last minute could result in disaster. One trade target I believe could be the answer now and for the future would be Buffalo Sabers center, Sam Reinhart.
Reinhart is a young 25-year-old center with the tools to flourish as this team’s second-line center. Would Buffalo be ok with trading him within their division, though? That’s a good question, one that is also tough to answer as they just traded Taylor Hall to Boston. This could be explained away easily, though, since Hall used his no-movement clause to work his way into the Bruins organization at last season’s trade deadline. There are other options as well, but this, to me, seems like the best one possibly available. Whatever Sweeney decides to do, he needs to make sure it leads to them being a Cup contender this season because they may only have a couple more shots at winning the cup with this core.